Writer/director Shaz Bennett’s sassy yet heartfelt 2012 short queer film, Alaska Is A Drag, made a splash on the film festival circuit and is now headed for the feature film treatment with a $50,000 Kickstarter campaign. The deadline is December 12.
Philadelphia-born, Los Angeles-based star Martin L. Washington Jr. plays Leo, a young queer African American who fosters dreams of drag queen stardom under shining glitter balls while toiling away in a humdrum Alaskan fish cannery. His twin sister, Tristen, provides much-needed support — and taught Leo to fight against the local bullies — but it’s a new kid in town, Declan, who may truly help motivate some change in Leo’s life.
According to the filmmakers: “It’s a fish out of water story, like Billy Elliot in reverse or Rocky in Drag. If Hedwig and Rocky had a love child that might best describe Alaska Is A Drag.” Bennett was inspired by her experiences working in an Alaskan fish cannery for a summer, and performing with a 7-foot-tall African American drag queen, and developed the feature version’s script through Naked Angels and the AFI Directing Workshop For Women.
Meanwhile, those with all-region DVD players can see the original – which was featured at Wales’ prestigious Iris Prize festival for LGBT short films — by ordering the UK gay short compilation DVD Boys On Film 11: We Are Animals.